Form, Frame, Fracture

Task 2

This second research task is intended to build on what I discovered in Task 1, Take Two Influences.  In this task I have specific conceptual or process boundaries.

Using these words extend my work from the previous task or start a new piece of research.  The sequence of words must be chosen in advance.

How to Chose the Word Sequence?

Does it matter?

If so, in what way will it affect what I chose to do?  Will it constrain me in an unacceptable way?

If I think about it, I am making a decision based on a preconceived direction, which isn’t the brief.

I decided to follow The Dice Man, which could be argued as weakness and a reluctance to take control, or creative and allowing my unconscious mind to lead me on a path to discovery.

6 – Fracture, Form, Frame

Reflecting on Task 1 and What I have Learnt Since

My approach to Take Two Influences was too simplistic.  That said, for a first task, working alone and no experience of how to go about a research project, I muddled through.  Whenever I doubt myself, feel I am out of my depth or don’t understand, I allow my inner voice to tell me that there are those wiser than me who believe I can do it, or I wouldn’t be here.  My role, at least for the first few weeks, is to soak up everything I can, read, research, visit, view, without any thought as to what to do with the information and certainly not to analyse.

So what have I learnt so far?

I have created 95 boards on Pinterest and selected over 1600 examples of the work of those 95 artists, that are either representative of their work, images I particularly like, or give an insight into the artist and their working practice.  Not all works are titled or have sizes.  At this stage it is more important to broaden my horizon and just become aware of a wide range of artists.  This has been driven by comments from other students, course material, newspaper articles, radio and TV programmes.  At a later date, when I understand more specifically what I am aiming for, I will deepen the research, but for now it feels like finding jewels everyday.  Today it was the exquisite paper cuts of Timoku Shioyasu, courtesy of Sharon.

I have understood the importance of reading widely when it comes to critical opinion, and being familiar with where the critic is coming from.  ‘Read widely and maintain a healthy scepticism.’

When I don’t understand something to just keep going and hope that ‘the penny will drop’.

I have acquired a strategy for accessing specific types of creativity, which has given me the confidence to believe that ideas will start to flow.

I have learnt that it is necessary to practise every day until being a creative runs through my core.

The Creative Process

The idea of having a structured approach to my work is what I am here to learn.  It is not what I am used to doing, but my practice, is flawed, because I have no process whereby I can repeat, or necessarily move forward.  Which on one hand, makes for a simpler life, but on the other, cannot be articulated, and as I am discovering, what you say about your work is as important as the work itself.

My first line of thought, before determining the word order, related to an incident at school.  I went to one of the first comprehensives in the country.  It wasn’t uncommon for the police to arrive at the school.  On this particular day, a boy in the form below me had stolen some Thunderbird toys, the police turned up to question him, and while he was running away he tried to cross the frozen pool and fell through the ice.  Surprisingly, I even had a painting, that with minor enhancement would have complied with the brief perfectly.  A simple solution, but not the point.



I then looked at the word definitions supplied by Angela, because that was where I was being guided.

What stood out?


  • the act of breaking; state of being broken.  Mental breakdown.
  • a break, breach, or split. The breakdown of a relationship.
  • the characteristic appearance of a broken surface, as of a mineral. Texture.


  • external appearance of a clearly defined area, as distinguished from colour or material;   Again texture.
  • the manner or style of arranging and coordinating parts for a pleasing or effective result, as in literary or musical composition: a unique form for the novel.  Composition.
  • Fine Arts –    the organization, placement, or relationship of basic elements, as lines and colours in a painting or volumes and voids in a sculpture, so as to produce a coherent image; the formal structure of a work of art.  Composition.
  • Philosophy – the structure, pattern, organization, or essential nature of anything.
  • Linguistics – the shape or pattern of a word or other construction (distinguished from substance).


  • to form or make, as by fitting and uniting parts together; construct.
  • Usually, frames. ( used with a plural verb ) the framework for a pair of eyeglasses.  To see, or maybe, not see.
  • a particular state, as of the mind: an unhappy frame of mind.
  • Nautical – any of a number of transverse, rib-like members for supporting and stiffening the shell of each side of a hull.  The possibility for theme or pattern.
  • Printing . the workbench of a compositor, consisting of a cabinet, cupboards, bins, and drawers, and having flat and sloping work surfaces on top.  Enclosed letters.


I spoke to Rosi (MA2).  Very reassured by her approach.  She mentioned that she had been told to do what she enjoyed.  That sounded like a good piece of guidance.

Reading Sharon’s journal for Task 1, I loved her images and thought I would check out the artists she mentioned, none of whom I am familiar with.  I was absolutely blown away by the exquisitely delicate work of Japanese artist Tomoko Shioyasu’s paper cuts.

Tomoko Shioyasu


This video gives a little insight into how this humble artist works,  when asked what she does with the fragile work when it is finished, she explained that she roles it up and with her mother at one end and herself at the other, she wheels it on top of her bicycle to the local community centre!

Japanese Artists

If someone of this ability was unknown to me, perhaps there were other Japanese artists that might be of interest.

On Wiki I selected Modern Japanese Artists.  Looking for anyone I may be interested in, I chose to look at the work of a number of artists :

kenzo Okada, Kurado Seiki, Kume Kelichiro, Tama Kiyohara, Itchiku Kubota, Shusaka Arakawa, Koji Ishikawa and Pinkman.

The muted colours and apparently torn edges of abstract expressionist, Kenzo Okada stood out for me. Kenzo Okada

Title unknown, selected for Okada’s use of colour.  I am surprised that this work is a painting and not torn paper, like a similar toned collage I produced on an abstraction course at the St Ives School of Painting last year.  008


Homage to Sandra Blow, a collage produced on the course, and whose studio we visited, and plan to stay at next year.

At Sandra Blow’s studio.

Kenzo Okada

Title unknown, selected for Okada’s  use of over-painting,

Okada’s work is described as a strong Japanese sensibility and feeling for form.

By double clicking on the above image I got ‘transported’ to WikiArt Abstract Expressionism, another find that I must explore later.


Detail from Venus

I frequently use tissue paper- detail from Men & Women


A piece I created on a textile course at City Lit, London, paper, threads and rose petals are stitched with ‘muslin’ overlay.

003 004Will You? a soon to be revisited painting and detail showing the torn edges.


Order Out Of Chaos

Elaine Lokhandvala – Order Out of Chaos.  Elaine is currently texturing her watercolours using sand.

Terry Setch

Detail from an encaustic work by Terry Setch

I then looked at ways of making texture and line.


The first image (top left) uses colour soaked torn watercolour paper, the red dried flat and the blue pinned to the wall.

The second uses melted wax and netting with ink.007 Detail

The third, has burnt edges.

The forth is torn from an old painting.

The fifth is water sprayed ink and watercolour with melted wax reheated with a hair dryer and fine lines drawn with thread dipped in ink.

The last image is ink and thread under wax with thread dipped in ink fine lines.

Nothing particularly excited me until I saw005

a piece of paint soaked watercolour paper blown up to reveal its delicacy.   How to scale up?006

 Thoughts during the making process

Didn’t want to work in silence, but nothing too modern, so Chopin in background.

Working with such a personal image added a different dynamic.  The photo is about me, with my mother as observer.

I started by increasing the size of the original photo, seen to the right of the child’s head on the large white sheet, until the image was barely discernible.



Replicating the original image didn’t work for me, with my mother the distant observer, so I tried a number of formats before arriving at this balance.  Where was the truth in this?


I normally work without a plan.  I might have a photo or vase of flowers as a starting point, they may end up as the focus of the work, an inspiration, or not feature at all.  I do not set out with a point on the horizon that I am aiming for.

This piece was different.  I knew where I thought I wanted to be.  How to get there?  It felt like standing on my head!

I approached the work in the same way I normally do, by wetting the paper in a reasonably random way.  Whilst this structured approach was good in one way, in that it helped me focus, for me, it inhibited the creativity, because my head was so full of purpose.


As it was a black and white photo, I decided to keep the work monochrome.  I mixed a grey/blue using Indigo (non staining, so that I could remove, if the facial details were wrong) and Alizarin Crimson.

By the end of the first 3 hours I had the outline and something interesting had happened.  Some jagged lines had appeared at the bottom of the sheet, which were hugely symbolic.  I had also decided to tear round the shape of my mother’s head to create the beautiful torn edge I had achieved during experimenting.  This would need to be glued on later, and succeeded in creating a further aspect of dominance.


Close up of the torn shape, edging my mother’s hair.

The photo was from the early 50’s, and my mother was quite glamorous, with a film star look about her, certainly compared to other mums.  I wanted to capture this feeling, as well as my relationship with her, and her with me.


The final piece, Fracture, Form, Frame.

3 hours later and it is time to present to the group again.  I felt the work lacked contrast and needed more work.  The group had other ideas.  I was blown away by there response.  Thank you guys!


An image that emerged during the enlargement phase that I shall work on going forward.


My unconscious mind keeps me on the right track and I should trust it more.

There was a very close, unconscious link to the first task, Take Two Influences, where I had been looking at  the work of Marlene Dumas.  The large scale (30 x 22 inches) monochrome portrait.


The process of producing the work was surprisingly tiring.  Emotion is exhausting.



Critical Reading and Writing Exercise – Lorca


To respond to a piece of writing I like.  200 words email by 1 Dec.

My Approach

I was drawn to this image, currently showing at the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester,  29th October 2014 – 15th February 2015.

Sir Terry Frost ‘The Moon Rising’, 1989 © The estate of Sir Terry Frost

Federico García Lorca’s poem appears in Canciones, 1921-1924 (Songs, 1921-1924).

I was aware that the series of works were based on Lorca’s poems, which I understand are held in high esteem, particularly by the poet and performer Leonard Cohen, but I was unfamiliar with the work.  I assumed that the writing would be good, and therefore suitable for this task, but if I am honest, I was more interested in understanding what Frost was seeing in the work and how he was choosing to interpret it, with a view to perhaps gleaning an insight for my own practice.

La Luna Asoma             The Moon Rising

Cuando sale la luna       When the moon rises
se pierden las campanas   The bells hang silent,
y aparecen las sendas     And impenetrable footpath impenetrables.            Appear.
Cuando sale la luna,      When the moon rises,
el mar cubre la tierra    The sea covers the land,
y el corazón se siente    And the heart feels
isla en el infinito.      Like an island in infinity.

Nadie come naranjas       Nobody eats oranges
bajo la luna llena.       Under the full moon.
Es preciso comer          One must eat fruit
fruta verde y helada.     that is green and cold.

Cuando sale la luna       When the moon rises
de cien rostros iguales,  Moon of a hundred equal                              
la moneda de plata        The silver coinage
solloza en el bolsillo.   Sobs in his pocket.

The Tate, owners of the 4th artist’s proof,    summarises Terry Frost’s interpretation as:

‘The Moon Rising is one of the simplest and starkest images in the Lorca portfolio. In the top left corner of the print is a smudged black shape, roughly circular in form. Below it and to the right is a downward facing red crescent with curved ends. A black crescent whose pointed ends face upwards lies nestled between the red crescent and a larger smudged red form at the bottom of the print. The bold blocks of colour and simplified curvilinear forms recall the abstract paintingsand prints of Joan Miró (1893-1983; see Untitled, 1964, Tate P05474) and the late cut-outs of Henri Matisse (1869-1954; see The Dancer, 1949, Tate P01713).

The poem on which this print is based is an impressionistic description of the silence and mystery of a moonlit night. Frost discussed the use of black and red in relation to the Lorca portfolio, saying, ‘Black and Red become a symbol for death and life, lust, passion, tenderness, fear, love’ (quoted in Terry Frost, p.216). ‘

Pallant House makes no particular reference to the work at all, other than to say ‘ exploring their shared fascination with nature, death and the ‘Duende’, a concept in Spanish culture that refers to the heightened state of emotion required for artistic invention.’

Both esteemed organisations avoid my key question, why does Frost interpret the poem in this way?  What is Frost seeing that I am not?  Merely describing splodges and shapes, does nothing to enhance the viewer’s understanding.

So to the point of the exercise, 200 words on the poem La Luna Asoma by Federico García Lorca, written between 1921-1924.

Raised on a diet of ‘sticks and stones..’, I came to the power of words late in life, during an NLP intervention, where the identification and release of a word, allowed a new world order for the recipient.

And so it is with poetry.

The sparing use of words to evoke human emotion.

Cuando sale la luna,      When the moon rises,

el mar cubre la tierra    The sea covers the land,

y el corazón se siente    And the heart feels

isla en el infinito.           Like an island in infinity.

 English language dominance is both saviour and curse. 

So much more sensual in the Spanish, softer, lilting, evocative.

 That said, I find this poem awkward.

 Nadie come naranjas       Nobody eats oranges

bajo la luna llena.             Under the full moon.

Es preciso comer              One must eat fruit

fruta verde y helada.       that is green and cold. 

Feels like an intrusion, an eruption in the moon’s calming ocean. 

The expected connection in Frost’s interpretation is also missing.  Frost defines his work,  ‘Black and Red become a symbol for death and life, lust, passion, tenderness, fear, love’1.  In ‘Lament’, yes, where passion and death are palpable, but in this poem, no.

 Terry Frost, p.216

Sir Terry Frost ‘Lament for Ignacio Sanches Mejias’, 1989 © The estate of Sir Terry Frost

Lament for Ignacio Sanches Mejias, 1989



Lisa Barnard – Hyenas of the Battlefield

Lisa Barnard visiting lecturer 17 November 2014

Lisa’s latest book

Lisa gave us a great insight into how she developed her practice and exactly what is necessary to develop a niche for yourself and how she achieved this.

I realised within a few minutes that the lecture was going to be over my head, so I scribed what I could, with the intention of revisiting at my leisure.  The word Sublime was key to the lecture and I will be writing a separate journal about this word, suffice to say that my colloquial understanding of the meaning of this word was not relevant.

Lisa describes herself on Twitter as ‘Photographic artist Intetested in aesthetics, politics and war. Senior Lecturer in Documentary Photography, Newport, Wales.’  (Hope that is a typo and not another new word I don’t know.)

Following a confusing start, I joined the lecture at the point at which Lisa had received Arts Council funding for a year long project at the Unicorn Theatre in Tooley St, London, for an art based photography project.  She fixed a toya view 5 x 4 plate camera to the end of an aisle and photographed the children in low light, taking some 200 plus photos of which only 30 worked.  The eyes of the children are mesmerising as they watch the theatre production.     

Lisa referenced the work of Craigie Horsfield

(nominated The Turner Prize 1996, who photographs people and the environment, and describes his work as  as, “intimate in scale but its ambition is, uncomfortable as I find it, towards an epic dimension, to describe the history of our century, and the centuries beyond, the seething extent of the human condition.”[1] )

Bill Henson (Australian contemporary art photographer. His photographs’ use of bokeh is intended to give them a painterly atmosphere )

Tolarno Gallery, Melbourne, Australia

and Loretta Lux (an east German surreal photographer of children). The-Waiting-Girl-Loretta-Lux

Dorothea and the Cat 2006

She spoke about Nietzche, the birth of tragedy, the theatre, chaos and order, of Psychological Aesthetics (‘The psychology of art and aesthetics is the study of the perception and experience of art and of what is beautiful. Art is a human phenomenon, and therefore aesthetics is fundamentally a psychological process. Psychological aesthetics evolved from the study of aesthetics by philosophers such as Baumgarten and Kant. It was Gustav T. Fechner (see Foundational Works) who took aesthetics out of the realm of contemplative musings by developing rigorous procedures for studying the arts. He subjected beliefs derived from philosophical work, such as the golden section, to empirical investigation. Today, the psychology of art and aesthetics incorporates a host of different areas of study, including visual arts, music, literary reading, dance, cinema, and product design.’ taken from  and how the frame orders chaos.

Next Lisa spoke about a three week project interviewing and photographing Blue Star Moms, in Walnut Creek, LA, using a 6 x 7 Pentax camera, similar to a large 35mm.  These were mothers of military, who sent care packages to Fallujah, Iraq in 2004, She referenced Michael Moore’s film, Farenheit 9/11, which blamed women for kids joining the military.

See Lisa’s web site for photographs that she took of the contents of the packages against a black velvet  background.

Her next funded  project in Eastbourne, where she worked with a poet, produced postcards of the local Polish community.  These were given away at the station, where large typological portraits were hung, symbolising communication between the two communities.

There followed a project to record the then empty 32 Smith Square building, former home to the Conservative party, and believed, because of the layout of the building, to be synonymous with the demise of the party.  Professor Jeremy Till, Principal of St Martins and Vice Chancellor of the University of the Arts, London, referenced the 6 inches of power, the platform that Maggie Thatcher had built in the main rooms for addressing the faithful.

Lisa was inspired by Bertholt Brecht’s play Mother Courage, to become an activist, not to be immersed in the emotion of the performance, but to engage by working backstage.  The symbolism of the silver spoon brooch in the play prompted her photograph of the same.  The images of Maggie Thatcher stuck together, when separated and photographed referenced the repetition of Andy Warhol.  The Ghost of Maggie was shown alongside Simon Roberts’ work at the Co-op Building in Brighton in 2011, curated by Brighton Photo Biennale Fringe, the UK’s largest international photography festival.  Lisa also referenced Sarah James, professor at the UCL who lectures in the relationship between art and photography in the 21st century.

The building now houses the European Commission.

Keen to work in the US again,  and drawn towards the military, Lisa’s next project arose after listening to All in the Mind on radio 4, about virtual reality and drones.

Psychologist Skip Rizzo, director of Medical Virtual Reality at the Institute of Creative Technologies (ICT), University  of Southern California, conducts research into the design, development and evaluation of virtual reality (VR) systems targeting the areas of clinical assessment, treatment rehabilitation and resilience.  ICT is funded by the military and Lisa was given access to photograph in areas that the UK would not have allowed.

Drone pilots work with real images.  It has been established that continual exposure to the virtual programme, makes it seem more true than the real event.  More soldiers have died from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) piloting the drones, than have been killed in action.

Mary Cummings, associate professor in Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke university, USA is an expert on drone pilots and PTSD.  Lisa travelled to Pakistan to interview a number of victims of drones.  There are 900 companies involved in the production of drones.

Lisa referenced Professor Julian Stellabrass, lecturer photographer and art historian at the Courtauld Institute of Art, and curator of the Brighton photo Biennale 2008, and Eugenie Shinkle who researched the Technological of the Sublime, a combination of anxiety and boredom, originally an awareness of the limits of self.

Lisa reference the film style of Tom Gunning of the University of Chicago, and Peter Singer’s Wired for War, which explores how sci fi has started to play out on the modern day battle field.  Lisa’s work referenced the Thin Blue Line in her images of drone patterns and blue landscape, society from anarchy.   It is not possible to tell whether the landscape is US or Pakistan

She notes ‘The drone dominates both in its position as a hovering predator and in its control of the airwaves and the ‘speed’ of communication. This intimate relationship Paul Virilio describes as the ‘dromosphere’ (the sphere of speed), where the interface, the technology and the user is integrated. Stefan Decostere suggests that the ‘dromosphere’ “is a stadium for one person in which one is witness to the anamorphosis of speeded-up reality, an environment driven by technology in which one experiences the grotesque deformations of what we once called ‘reality’” .

Jameson notes how the crisis of alienation from this experience and anxiety gives way to the fragmentation of the subject, suggesting that,  “….the representation of space itself has come to be felt as incompatible with the representation of the body…..the world thereby momentarily loses its depth and threatens to become a glossy skin, a stereoscopic illusion, a rush of filmic images without density.”

These images are taken in collaboration with The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and each landscape has embedded within it a set of statistics’

Lisa referenced the Marxist literary critic and political theorist Fredric Jameson, who suggests that technology can only be theorised through the category of the sublime. note 2.  Sharon made reference to the Brighton artist Anna Dumitriu, who specialises in bioart. Her installations, interventions and performances use digital, biological and traditional media.

The landscape is too much for humans to bear, and the famous saying from Edmund Burke, the father of modern conservatism, The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. - Edmund Burke

The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America (referenced in the title of her book) is a 1964 work of literary criticism written by Leo Marx and published by Oxford University Press. The title of the book refers to a trope in American literature representing the interruption of pastoral scenery by technology due to the industrialization of America during the 19th and 20th century.

Lisa concludes with the ‘All seeing eye of imperialism, control the sky and you control the land.  The higher up you are, the more powerful, as illustrated in Foucault’s Panopticon, with the centrally based tower designed by Jeremy Bentham, and the control of prisoners.

Scary and hugely thought provoking work.


Turner Prize History: Craigie Horsfield Accessed April 15, 2006[

2 Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, London 1991, p.38.


Week 9 – Creative Writing


My daughter’s friend works for Heatherwick, so I like to keep up with what his practice are creating.  I love the idea of a garden bridge, not sure why it hasnt been considered before.Thomas Heatherwick’s proposed Thames bridge.

Not content with that, Heatherwick is proposing a island in New YorkThomas Heatherwick island New York

Good architecture doesn’t have to be about tallest, brashest or most expensive.

just found out that there are going to be restrictions on the garden bridge and there may be a charge.  Nothing is ever what it seems.

Creative Writing

I was really moved by Sharon’s ability to convey her emotional response to a work by Mark Rothko.  I realised that when I comment on an artwork I answer the questions, where, what, how, when, left brain, and I do not seem to have developed the language to describe my emotional response, right brain.  This could be for a number of reasons.  Maybe I haven’t learnt the language of critique yet, maybe I just don’t ‘see’,  maybe my spectrum of emotion is limited for physical or psychological reasons or maybe I am not allowing access to my unconscious mind, relying on the easier cerebral response.

Pallant Gallery, Chichester

Conscious of this issue, I visited the Conscience and Conflict exhibition at the Pallant.  This particular conflict, (1936-39), building up to the second world war touched many artists around the world.

Three works stood out for me.

Picasso’s Weeping Woman

I could really feel her pain.  I think it was the angular core in contrast to the softly flowing hair, but I decided to seek out an expert opinion, with a view to better understanding what I am failing to see.

I found this review by the reliable Jonathan Jones in the Guardian, May 2000.

‘Let your eyes wander over the sharp surface and you are led by the jagged black lines to the picture’s centre, her mouth and chin, where the flesh seems to have been peeled away by corrosive tears to reveal hard white bone. The handkerchief she stuffs in her mouth is like a shard of glass. Her eyes are black apertures. When you are inside this picture you are inside pain; it hits you like a punch in the stomach.’

The Watcher 1937, Edward Burra

Again, was it angularity that conveyed pain, the semi monochrome treatment, or the threatening nature of the piece?

I am more familiar with Burra’s softer images of life, but I suspect if I research further, the impact of the Spanish Civil War sharpened the edges of his work.

The Snack Bar 1930

I note from this excellent blog that Burra was born in Rye, just 8 miles from me and a watercolourist.  I will be looking at him more closely.

‘In 1969 the critic Pierre Rouve observed of Burra’s work: ‘The power of his larger compositions is unique and uniquely disconcerting in the eyes of those convinced that watercolours can only water down all colours. To ask them to convey emotional intensity and cerebral strength would seem absurd… And yet this miracle occurs time and time again in Burra’s work’.’

As an aside I checked a number of ‘gerryco23’s blogs

South Downs by Eric Ravilious, who grew up in Eastbourne, 20 miles from Hastings

I will return.  Too much to learn, so easy to be side-tracked.

Wyndham Lewis ‘The Surrender of Barcelona’, 1934–7<br /><br /><br />
© Wyndham Lewis and the estate of Mrs G A Wyndham Lewis by kind permission of the Wyndham Lewis Memorial Trust (a registered charity)

The Surrender of Barcelona 1934-7 Percy Wyndham Lewis

The power of this painting is the contrast between the dark, military foreground and the colourful, almost cartoon like body of the work.

The main reason I went to the Pallant was to see the Terry Frost works based on the Eleven Poems by Federico Garcia Lorca.  Lorca was a significant influence on Leonard Cohen, whose work I admire, so much so that he named his daughter after him.  I wanted to see the power of these poems in action


Lament for Ignacio Sánchez Mejías

The Tate, owners of the 4th Artist Copy, describe the work,

‘Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias is based on a four-part elegy to a young bullfighter and friend of Lorca’s who was fatally gored in the Manzanares arena in Madrid on 11 August 1934. In Frost’s print, the artist’s characteristic abstracted forms of solid colour suggest an illustration of the poem’s subject. A large black semi-circular wedge suggestive of a bull’s horn intrudes into the image from the left side. At its point is a splattering of bright red denoting the spilled blood of the matador. Above and to the right is a bright yellow circle, a simplified image of the blazing sun. An off-white arc is embossed below the circle, shadowing or cradling the yellow form. The slightly glossy texture of the arc is dampened where it overlaid with smudges of red. Linda Saunders has commented on how the simplicity of the composition echoes the starkness of the poem. She has written, ‘Frost takes the primary force of his image from the bold colour of three of Lorca’s lines: “Oh, white wall of Spain! / Oh, black bull of sorrow! / Oh, hard blood of Ignacio!”’ (Saunders, ‘Frost and the Duende’, Terry Frost, p.222).’

This image works well for me.

021 023


The Moon Rising 1989

For me, this image, whilst pleasing, does not seem to bear much relationship to the poem.  The choice of colour, the reference to just the title rather than the content or feel of the poem, do not make for a cohesive interpretation.

Again from the Tate review, ‘The Moon Rising is one of the simplest and starkest images in the Lorca portfolio. In the top left corner of the print is a smudged black shape, roughly circular in form. Below it and to the right is a downward facing red crescent with curved ends. A black crescent whose pointed ends face upwards lies nestled between the red crescent and a larger smudged red form at the bottom of the print. The bold blocks of colour and simplified curvilinear forms recall the abstract paintingsand prints of Joan Miró (1893-1983; see Untitled, 1964, Tate P05474) and the late cut-outs of Henri Matisse (1869-1954; see The Dancer, 1949, Tate P01713).

The poem on which this print is based is an impressionistic description of the silence and mystery of a moonlit night. Frost discussed the use of black and red in relation to the Lorca portfolio, saying, ‘Black and Red become a symbol for death and life, lust, passion, tenderness, fear, love’ (quoted in Terry Frost, p.216). ‘

Disappointingly only two of the works were displayed beside the associated poem.  The remaining works did not necessarily have the same title as a one of the 11 poems photocopied in a folder.  Not the best effort from the Pallant.

Anselm Kiefer

the Imagine programme on BBC1 gave a great insight into the life of a leading artist.  Studio space the size of a supermarket, an army of assistants and the freedom to create whatever you fancy. A lot to aspire to.  I am looking forward to seeing his exhibition at the RA.  Just a little disappointed at the indulgence.

Chapman Brothers

i love the BBC4 series What Do Artists Do All Day?  The Chapman brothers Jake and Dinos, didn’t disappoint.  We saw the brothers preparing for their current exhibition at the Jerwood, laced with images of Hastings.  Again a squad of assistants painstakingly preparing the 1000s of figures for the centrepiece of the exhibition and a glimpse of Jake watercolouring the Goya etchings, but no real insight into their creative process.  It just seems to be about enjoying themselves.

Gerhard Richter

A YouTube interview with Nicholas Serota during Richter’s preparation for his exhibition at the Tate Modern.  A quiet, unassuming man, still working hard in his 80s.  How he managed to work on large canvases in a white shirt and remain spotless, was either a lesson to us all or demonstrated great self control.  His thought process was tangible.  A great insight into his working practice.



Week 7

Chuck Close

Big Think YouTube:  Advice to Artists During a Crisis

‘There is no better time to make paintings than when everyone thinks it is dead.’  Crisis is a determinant of who keeps working and who falls by the way side.

Learn Something New

To expand the Reason brainset.  I know nothing about philosophy.

Stephen Fry

Big Think: The Importance of Unbelief

The beauty and simplicity of Kant, the tiniest elegant observation spins out this immensely complex thing that makes you rethink everything. The intellectual rigour and quest of logic takes hard work.  Live as if there is no after life.   To quote Kipling ‘If you can fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds worth of distance run.’

YouTube: Three Minute Philosophy

Immanuel Kant 1724-1804 German


Universality-if everyone was doing it at the same time would it still be OK?

End rather than a means to an end,  Never lie, ever.  Only responsible for your own actions.

Absolute moral authority of the entire universe.

Rene Descartes 1596-1650 French

Father of modern philosophy.

X/Y axis cartesian co-ordinates.


Methodological sceptisism.  Table of certainties.

Everything you think you know is composed of varying levels of belief.

He existed.  I think therefore I am.

Ontological argument.  The definition of say ‘God’ presupposes the existence of God.

Cartesian dualism.  Regular matter and non-material of mind and spirit.

Aristotle 380bc

Ethics/ science / literary theory / political theory / rhetoric / theology / medicine

Formal logic.  Sylloggism, determine based on previously known facts.

Incidental feature / essential feature.

Every statement is true or false.

Four causes – Matter, Form, Source or Efficient Cause, Final Cause.

eg a clock – Matter is metal/plastic, Form is the shape, Source is the clock maker, Final Cause is telling the time.

Pythagoras of Samos pre Christ

Mathematics.  Pythagoras’ theory. Square numbers.  Base 10.

Hardly an expert but at least their chronology and their beliefs.


Rachel Goodyear

rachel goodyear - two magpies

Two Magpies

Interview Artists 2010 – At Leeds she studied sculpture and installation.  It wasnt until two years after graduating that she realised that drawing could be her practice.  She is inspired by natural history, ‘the harmonious relationships and parasitic relationships, destructive as well.’  ‘Also to tap into human superstitions, human fears and desires.’

She is very prolific, creating maybe thousands of drawings.

nature notes - groomingNature notes- Grooming

Her interviewer asks ‘So it’s not just looking, it’s feeling the tensions of living.’  She replied ‘Yes, they can be the minutest frustration to the biggest issue.  I think I move through the world with quite a discerning eye, like always rummaging around in the undergrowth.  This is my delivery of what I experience, but also what I observe as well.’

Andy Warhol -Tate Liverpool

Jonathan Jones of the Guardian, clearly a fan before the visit, loved the whole experience, for experience it seems to have been.  Remaining members of the Velvet Underground, the band Warhol managed, played, whilst the walls sang with iconic Warhol images.

Week 8

Allen Jones

Zoe William’s writing in the Guardian about the Allen Jones exhibition at the RA, London until 25 January 2014 ponders where we are in the objectification art-ifying debate, nearly 50 years on.

Chair by Allen Jones

She concludes ‘Did second-wave feminists shoot the messenger? Or did he mangle the message? The debate is still open.’

The debate lingers on in our household too.  My husband owns a postcard of the image, my step-daughter is at a loss to understand her father.  I decided to seek the views of some younger males, in their mid twenties.  I asked them to comment on the image with no context.

My son’s view

Upon first view it struck me as something owned by a person who’s run out of ways to waste their fortune. I’d imagine it to sit alongside various other novelty items which together make up an in cohesive room with no discernible style.

There’s no doubt a market for it amongst the chauvinistic male from the playboy generation who will use the piece primarily as a symbol of power and dominance. However, despite the somewhat offensive undertone for such an image, the craftsmanship and idea behind it is clever and unique.

His friend’s view

I find the image difficult to make sense of. I guess that the initial idea behind furniture like this was to create an air of decadence in a space by referencing taboo bondage and erotic subcultures and turning them into arbitrary items like furniture. I’m not sure it stands up in this day and age though, where the sexually explicit is pretty well accepted as a fact of life by a lot of western culture, to the point where it kind of ceases to be explicit at all.

Once you get over the initial and slightly shocking perception of this object being something which is degrading to women (and I reckon it definitely is), you see a naivety in it. Like it is reflecting our own cosseted attitudes about sex and sexuality in the past, which these days are much more fluid and accepting.

Now, it is probably not much more impactful than as a curio from a bygone age. In fact what’s quite interesting is that a deeper and more powerful message about the subjugation of women has probably become more apparent, as a result of its diminishing power as an erotic object.



I visited the Musee Marmottan029

a beautiful building housing the largest collection of works by  Claude Monet, I believe, in the world.

The current exhibition Impression, soleil levant
L’histoire vraie du chef-d’oeuvre de Claude Monet

focuses on this painting, tracing the history of the Impressionist movement through the works of Monet.

There is also a large collection of works by Berthe Morisot, a woman ahead of her time.

gg2p Berthe Morisot: A Woman French Impressionist in a Man’s World   Berthe Morisot Self Portrait 408

Self portrait

My lasting memory, however, is the huge circular room with maybe 12 large (2 x 1.5m) paintings of water lilies.  I hadn’t realised he had painted them so many times.  A peaceful oasis away from the Parisian traffic.

Frank Gehry

For 6 years my office window overlooked the Richard Roger’s Lloyds’ building in the City, which ignited an interest in contemporary architecture.  I was keen to see the new Frank Gehry built for Louis Vuitton.020

Spectacular, yes, but whereas I could appreciate the reason for the external services on the Roger’s building both at Lloyds and the Pompidou Centre039


I could see no relevance or functional purpose for the sail like structures, in a city centre.  It is difficult to tell whether the covering for the ‘sails’ is glass, but it looks plastic.  Not very Vuitton.

Sonia Delauney

This is the first major Sonia Delaunay retrospective in Paris since 1967, at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. There are over 400 works: paintings, wall decorations, gouaches, prints, fashion items and textiles. Coat made for Gloria Swanson, by Sonia Delaunay, 1923-24.Tracing the artist’s evolution since the beginning of the 20th century to the late 1970s, this exhibition highlights her work in the applied arts, her distinctive place in Europe’s avant-garde movements and her major role as a pioneering abstractionist.Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979) | Orphism Art Movement

Together with her husband Robert she is credited with founding the Orphism movement, noted for its use of strong colours and geometric shapes.

An illustrated poem

A visual feast in the perfect gallery space.

David Altmejd

Canadian sculptor David Altmejd’s exhibition also at the MAM was quite a different experience.  The gallery handout talks of ‘lucid dreams’, and ‘Altmejd works in direct contact with psychic flux. In his “definitive dreamer’s” world action and consciousness merge: he dominates the grotesque and the abject, combines aesthetics and ‘glamour’ and uses his sculptures to explore the worlds of dream and nightmare in a mingled ambience of fascination and terror.’

A huge body of work.

Not sure I understand it, nor would I like to be inside his head.

Raoul Dufy

Raoul Dufy -  La Fée Électricité (1937)

An extraordinary work of 250 canvases housed in a semicircular space at the MAM, measuring 60 x 10m.   The work was commissioned for the International Exhibition in 1937, notably for the concave wall of the Palais de la Lumière et de l’Electricité, built by Mallet Stevens on the Champs-de-Mars. In accordance with the brief from his sponsors, the Compagnie parisienne de Distribution d’Electricité, he told the story of The Electricity Fairy based on De Rerum natura by Lucretius. In this composition he works from right to left on two main themes, the history and applications of electricity, from the earliest observations up to the most modern technical achievements.  The work took 10 months to completed.

In the Realm of the Unmentionable – The Chapman Brothers

Either side of the soon to be reconstructed and reopened pier, in a forgotten corner of the South East coast, sit Hastings and St Leonards.  

It’s brasher neighbour Brighton & Hove takes centre stage on the South coast today, having grown from a fishing village in the early 18th century, to a city of 250,000 people today, but it is Hastings and St Leonards with only 90,000 people,  that has the real history running through its streets and its festivals, dating back to the defining Battle of Hastings in 1066.

The Jerwood with East Hill funicular railway leading to the Hastings Country Park, and Old Town to the left.

It is here, at the foot of Old Town, at Rock a Nore, on the Stade that the prestigious two year old Jerwood Gallery sits overlooking the fishing boats.  The exhibition has been made possible  through ‘Art Happens’, the Art Fund’s crowd-funding platform, which raised nearly £30,000 to fund the event.

Last night, caught in an unexpected torrential storm, I entered the Jerwood to see the latest work from the Chapman brothers, Jake, a painter and Dinos a sculptor, In the Realm of The Unmentionable, a fitting start to a dark and uncomfortable experience .

The brothers, arch-provocateurs of Young British Art, grew up in the town, that clearly haunts them.  In a recent interview with Jonathan Jones of the Guardian “It figures quite a lot in my nightmares,” says Dinos. As kids here in the 1970s, they lived in the middle-class St Leonards neighbourhood – their father was an art teacher – and remember being terrified of the boys and “derelicts” from the old town around today’s gentrified historic fishing beach.  Adding that “it used to be called ‘Smack-on-Sea’”.  Happy days!

This article from the local paper includes a short video of a small sample of the exhibition for those who aren’t able to make it to Hastings.

The huge, (each cabinet must be about 3m x 1m x 2m high) Sum of All Evil, especially reworked, stops you in your tracks as you enter the main room.

 The cabinets before the reworking of the models.

Chris Connelley writing in the Hastings Online Times admits ‘ I have always been a huge fan of the Chapman Brothers’  Describing the scene inside the cabinets as ‘rainbow-socked, hacked-off-at-the-ankle god-like figure presides over thousands of models, dead and barely alive, in an uncompromising killing fields landscape that demands our extended close attention, taking the traditional museum battle diorama to an altogether different level.’

The walls either side of the cabinets are hung with maybe 80 identically sized etchings in a regimented row, half from 2012 and the remainder completed this year, of Los Caprichos, the reworked set of 18th century etchings by Goya.

A wide shot of the exhibition.

In contrast the far wall contains a patchwork of framed childlike sketches, reaching far out of possible view, interspersed with three academic drawings that Jake Chapman made in Hastings in 1983, when he was 19.  In the most ambitious of them – titled Ken and the Skeleton – a sad, middle-aged male nude poses beside a hard-boned skeleton.

Then there is the Emin tent.  Why?  And the lowered ceiling with a tiny painting by A Hitler, and more work the other side….


Connelley concludes ‘All in all, In the Realm is a triumphant homecoming, which grapples with dark, disturbing and distressing themes with such a playful, arch, even comic touch that it prompts easy, regular, ready smiles alongside our uncomfortability, upset and unease. The work on display quite simply demands our fullest attention, and is genuinely engrossing, ensuring our visit is an unusually immersive experience in our often-vanilla walk-on-by contemporary visual culture.’

Jonathan Jones from the Guardian calls it ‘a hilarious, horrifying orgy of darkness’  ‘From copulating plastic dinosaurs to crucified Ronald McDonalds and the severed feet of God, the arch-provocateurs’ teeming macabre landscapes offer a powerful vision of modern brutality’.  

His closing comment ‘Their triumphant return to Hastings reveals that behind the comic horror of their art lurks a powerful vision of the modern world’s brutality.’ does not appear to be universally shared judging by the comments following the article,

conanthebikeman 24 October 2014 4:45pm

Dear Jake and Dinos
Give it a bloody rest and move on.

MickGJ to conanthebikeman  24 October 2014 10:08pm

Have they shoehorned Hitler in again?

Apparently Nazis are quite bad people, something no-one would have known without YBA. Also, war can be quite horrid, so best avoided.

Detail from one of the cabinets

 Castrated, Ossified (Bronze 2006) approx (from memory) 100 x 60 x 60cms

It felt like an exhibition for lovers of Monty Python, which I am not.  My husband loved it.

Was it the town that influenced their work, or did they manage to develop such an unforgiving view of humanity all by themselves?